Biss has established himself as a Beethoven specialist and foremost authority on the sonatas.


Jonathan Biss, piano
The Complete Piano Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven

Jonathan Biss does not do things halfway. Nearing the end of an ambitious nine-year, nine-disc project to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas, he brings the fruits of his labor to Hertz Hall for a once-in-a-lifetime listening experience. In the season that marks Beethoven's 250th birthday, Biss visits with this full cycle of towering works, performed over seven concerts. An artist of probing intellect and vast emotional range, Biss last visited Cal Performances with stirring performances of three Beethoven piano concertos, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra during the 2017–18 season. As one critic marveled of his recording of the Appassionata Sonata: "Biss's performance is blazing, nimble, fleet of finger and dangerous" (The Guardian, London).

Explore More! We're celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth this season! Read articles and browse other concerts featuring this magnificent composer.

Sat, Sep 21, 8pm
Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1
Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14, No. 1
Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, Op. 27, No. 1, Quasi una fantasia
Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major, Op. 26, Funeral March
Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, Waldstein

Sun, Sep 22, 3pm
Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7, Grand Sonata
Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, Tempest
Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1
Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, Appassionata
Sat, Oct 12, 8pm
Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28, Pastoral
Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49, No. 2
Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
Sun, Oct 13, 3pm
Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10, No. 2
Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14, No. 2
Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31, No. 3, The Hunt
Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106, Hammerklavier
Sun, Dec 15, 3pm
Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79, Cuckoo
Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major, Op. 22
Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, Moonlight
Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major, Op. 78, À Thérèse
Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
Sat, Mar 7, 8pm
Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, No. 1
Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31, No. 1
Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10, No. 3
Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2
Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110
Sun, Mar 8, 3pm
Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique
Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54
Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major, Op. 81a, Les adieux
Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111


Related Events

Music Department Class
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 2pm
125 Morrison Hall
Pianist Jonathan Biss talks with Prof. Nicholas Mathew in a music department class focusing on Beethoven's music. Free and open to the public.

Master Class
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 4pm
Hertz Hall
Pianist Jonathan Biss coaches students from the Dept. of Music in piano works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann. Free and open to the public.

Pre-performance Talk
Sun, Sep 22, 2019, 2pm
Hertz Hall
With Prof. Nicholas Mathew, UC Berkeley Dept. of Music. Free to ticket holders.

Pre-performance Talk
Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 2pm
Hertz Hall
With Prof. Nicholas Mathew, UC Berkeley Dept. of Music. Free to ticket holders.

Pre-performance Talk
Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 2pm
Hertz Hall
With Prof. Nicholas Mathew, UC Berkeley Dept. of Music. Free to ticket holders.

Major support for public programs provided by Bank of America.

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Explore More

Program Notes
Full Beethoven Cycle Program Notes
Jonathan Biss (piano) is a world-renowned pianist who channels his deep musical curiosity into performances and projects in the concert hall and beyond. In addition to performing with today's leading orchestras, he continues to expand his reputation as a teacher, musical thinker, and one of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time...READ THE NOTES

Feature Article
Beethoven 250:
Travels with Beethoven

by Larry Rothe

Eight years ago, in an article called "Beethoven's Guide to Being Human," I made the case for Beethoven's power to fill his audience with optimism, his capacity to convince a listener that good will prevail. This, I admit, reduces my argument to its most simplistic components...READ ARTICLE
Beethoven concerts
Beethoven 250:
The Concerts

This season, Cal Performances celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Join us for concerts including...SEE LIST OF CONCERTS

Beethoven Biss article
Beethoven 250:
In Search of Something Unreachable

by Jonathan Biss

This season, pianist Jonathan Biss performs the complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in seven concerts in Hertz Hall. In this excerpt from his Kindle ebook Beethoven's Shadow, Biss considers what has developed into a lifelong effort...READ ARTICLE

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]